Tuesday, May 19, 2015

BIG ZIT - "International Player's Club #1 - Tape - 2013

   "Sounds like BAD BRAINS"
  "Internet hype band"
  "I don't listen to hype bands"
   A copy of their tape sold for $75 dollars on Discogs. $75. A demo tape. This stupid demo tape. What fan of BIG ZIT has that kind of money to throw around on a little piece of plastic that is bound to break?
    Whatever. This tape is great. I spent almost nothing on it. It has a homemade cover by the band that is too difficult to scan. If you like completely frenetic, lo fi hardcore, you should already be downloading this...or already have it. I don't care about hype. I just like good music.

BIG ZIT / OOZE double pack cover art added for the benefit of anon commenter tumblr blogger pack 2015-2017

Monday, May 18, 2015

SILENT ERA - Demo - Tape - 2014

   Last night, I went to see BORN  play at a record store in Oakland. Honestly, all I wanted to do was lay in bed all day sipping fizzy water, but if a great band can come all the way here from Iceland, I can drag my lazy ass out of bed and take the train over to see them. Plus, their drummer, Fannar hooked me up with a wonderful place to stay in his country when I went there. I wanted to shake his hand in person since I couldn't in Iceland, because he was in the hospital.
   We talked. We laughed. The band was wonderful. I was dumbfounded that the show was poorly attended, which was directly impacted by the fact that JESUS AND MARY CHAIN and GREEN DAY were playing the same night. Whatever. Fannar asked what band(s) I was playing in these days and I said I was just playing in SILENT ERA. He said he'd try to remember to look us up, but I should just put it on the blog because he reads it all the time. It's always nice to know that people read this thing, especially in other countries, so Fannar, this one is for you.
    I believe SILENT ERA was a band for a couple of years before ever playing a show. I'm not really sure because I wasn't there. Hardly any of us were, because by our 4th show, Matt (guitar) was the only original member. The band was originally Matt, Noelle (bass) and Mackey (drums). They were having a hard time finding a singer and I think a friend from Oakland named Fernando sang for a short time. After that didn't work out, our good friend Michelle came into the fold and the line up seemed pretty solid. The band (finally) played a show in a garage in Oakland and then Mackey quit the band, unceremoniously and without warning.
   At the time, Matt was my roommate. We were sitting in the kitchen one day and he asked me to play drums. I saw how much time and energy the members were putting into the band, which I respect and told him to give me some time to think about it because I didn't want to join if I wasn't going to match that energy. Long story short, I joined. Plus, I was already playing music with Michelle in three other bands, so why not? (All of those are inactive/defunct besides STERILE MIND...but to say that we were ever full members of that band is a misnomer. I just wanted to mention them because they rule.) We hastily got our shit together, played a couple of shows, recorded this demo and then Michelle and Matt went to Europe for six weeks with THE NEW FLESH. Noelle went to South America. I worked at my job. Everyone came back besides Noelle, who now lives in NYC. We wasted no time....okay, that's not true...we definitely wasted some time....we got our friend Julia Booz to play bass and now, finally, things seems solid.
    The band is working on a bunch of new stuff that we plan on recording in September and releasing in some form. This demo was recorded over a weekend in our practice space by Jonny Tsagakis on his large analog tape behemoth. We paid him in alcohol and snacks (and money). I like these songs a lot, but I think our new ones are even better. We have politics that are strong, but I don't feel like I need to explain them right now. I like these people. I like this band.

Thanks to Jonny.
Keep up with our shows and stuff here
Live photo by Martin Sorrondeguy
..Thanks to Robert for the much appreciated ride home.
There ya go, Fannar. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

WOUNDS - "MMXIV" - Tape - 2014

   This is the 511th post on this blog, which is a large number but by no means a milestone. I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all of the folks who find their way to the blog and either read all of this silly bullshit I have to say or simply download the music and get the fuck out. When I started this thing, I just wanted to share a lot of my friend's bands...bands who put out only a few copies of their tapes and just shared them locally. I really didn't think anyone would pay attention, but they did. I don't know why, but they did.
   The internet is a strange place full of sad men who like to fill their time asserting their dominance with useless knowledge of shit no one cares about. I'm not saying that I'm any different (besides the dominance part...I don't care about that), but I like that this small section of the internet has been largely devoid of brashness and outright hostility. I appreciate the fact that most of the people who comment on these posts and contact me in other ways have been largely positive experiences. So thank you. Thanks for taking your precious time to look at this or engage in any way. Thanks to bands (and not-bands) for sending me tapes, whether I like them or not. Thanks to 99% of the bands who have been okay with sharing their music for free throughout the world, including such faraway places as India, Russia, The Ukraine and....Canada.
    Also, I feel like I've been slacking on the politics lately. It's been more like "the personal is political", so just in case there's any confusion, here we go with some of my personal guidelines: This is not a review site. If I like a tape, I share it. I don't talk about tapes I don't care for. DIY all the way. I don't even write about bands who use Kickstarter. Fuck Vice. Fuck Pitchfork. Fuck the cops...including the one in your head and people who just film illicit acts on the street and turn it over to law enforcement. DEAD MOON is the best band.  I share a lot of bands comprised of men but I make an  effort to make room for more marginalized voices as well, including women, people of color, trans people, genderqueer people, total fucking outcasts of society, freaks and disabled punks. I do my best to not promote anyone who has sexual assaulters in their band. I've definitely slipped up on that one, but a goddamn sad fact is that it's hard to keep track and I'm sorry for that. Is that it? That might be it.
  Anyway, thanks for being here and thanks if you read this far. Thanks if you didn't too.

  "What's more society and normal than being a misogynist prick? That's totally mainstream culture, so why would you be a punk if you were interested in doing that?" - Erin Yanke.

   Onto the music....Speaking of people who get in touch, Elaan is a supporter of the blog and got in touch to tell me about WOUNDS. Lots of people tell me about bands, but truthfully, it's usually the band they play in. I don't fault people for that. It's cool to be stoked on your own band. Why bother otherwise? Elaan said they'd send me their own personal copy of the tape if I wanted to digitize it for the blog. I was hesitant because what if this person sends me their tape from across the country and I absolutely hate it and I'm like "Oh thanks.."....and then I'm just sitting here with this tape that I don't care about...taking up space with the 999 other tapes in my tiny room? Luckily for all parties involved, it was not a waste of time. WOUNDS was a (I think) short lived band from Portland, OR that featured members of heavy hitters like DEFECT DEFECT (r.i.p. DEEF) and RED DONS. It's dark and urgent and has hooks that sneak out of the mire to stay in your head all day. Their singer does this thing with his voice that reminds me of Nick Blinko on Cacophony...It threw me off at first but I think it's okay now. I'm also totally jealous of how fast their drummer plays sixteenth notes, but I can live with it.

Thanks to Elaan. I'll mail your tape back to you. You should have it. 
Thanks to MRR for letting me use their stereo to rip this tape. Something was off with mine. 
Thanks to the punks worldwide for looking here.
You can buy your own WOUNDS tape here. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

LIQUIDS - "Mat's Demo" - Tape - 2015

   Basically, everything I wanted to write here could be a re-hash of all of the things I wrote in the previous entry, so I'll spare you. The only real difference is that the people I was going to talk about are (in my eyes) still relevant players in the DIY and art community....still active in the scenes they claim to be a part of...still creating and trying to move forward in a world that probably wishes they would just play the hits and let us all have fun.
   The short version: I walked over to the LIGHTNING BOLT show in my neighborhood, which has been sold out for two months. I tried to get in anyway, but it was solidly sold-the-fuck-out. The venue and area around it is....boring. It caters to money and power. It's an old, stale tale and I'm sure you already know it front to back. I would gladly give my money to LIGHTNING BOLT to entertain me for a spell but not that venue. (I hate being vague. It's called The Chapel.)
   Out front, I clicked on the LIQUIDS tape and started walking...and kept walking and walking away from the crowds, the douche bros, the bars, the cars and the Friday night crowds until I realized that I'd probably listened to the fucking tape nine times in a row and now I was on the top of Potrero Hill overlooking all of the city of San Francisco. It got me in a zone. The tape is hyperactive, hook-laden straightforward punk...the kind of shit that you can't explain or make it sound good in print, but once you hear it, you realize it's everything you've been missing. It's the kind of thing I would expect from members of CONEHEADS and OOZE. You can download it for yourself and decide if that description is correct for your worldview or not.
   I'm not a person who looks at messageboards (actually, do people still use these?) or tries to pay attention to the arguments that people have about the current state of punk because my eyes just glaze over. (trust me, I can see the hypocrisy of that statement.) BUT, I've seen the term "hype bands" being thrown around when referring to some current bands and their sudden popularity, such as CONEHEADS, G.L.O.S.S., BIG ZIT, etc.... The thing is, these bands are hyped for a reason...because they're fucking good. Sadie from G.L.O.S.S. told me that when her band was getting ready to press tapes, they had no idea how many to make and they all thought that 600 was a stupid, insane amount of tapes to make., so they made 300 and it sold out immediately. Plus, we're fucking punks and we don't have the money to be throwing around to make a shit ton of stupid tapes that could potentially just sit in a band member's room for years to come. Is this even making sense? I'm just saying that bands just do their thing. Sometimes people latch on to it and sometimes people don't. It's a big world and we have the capacity to enjoy lots of different shit..from CONEHEADS to every single thing ever played on KPOO to TENDER TANTRUM to old scratchy jazz records to harsh noise. Hyped or not. Don't deny yourself great music just because other people like it. And don't lose your shit because you can't track down the original tape because some band doesn't have the money or resources to cater to your every need. I'm done. Enjoy this tape.

Fun fact: Speaking of hype, THE BODY listens to Taylor Swift on tour. 

Next entry will have much less words, I promise.